CHAMPAIGN, Ill (WCIA) — A teen who was shot and killed was laid to rest Saturday. Last week, 14-year old Elijha Booker was killed. Police are still looking for the person who pulled the trigger.
Booker’s dad says he’s pushing through, and he says Elijha’s mother is hanging in there. But, after losing her son the day before Mother’s Day, the holiday won’t ever be the same for her.
“It was tough but that’s the way the Lord wanted it,” Nevalle Booker says. “I’m going to see him one day again. I feel that our spirits will meet again.”
Surrounded by family and friends, Nevalle Booker said his final goodbyes to his son. He says this was the hardest day of his life.
“Like no other day in my 48 years that I’ve been here on this earth,” Booker explains.
To make things even harder, he was planning on having Elijha move to Kentucky to live with him. He says he wanted to keep him safe, but that plan ended when he got a phone call.
“I felt helpless because I was so many miles away from my baby,” Booker says.
“14 years old he didn’t really get a chance to live life, go to college, so it really hit home for a lot of people,” Joseph Primm says.
He is one of the men who spoke at the service. He says he did that to get a message across.
“There’s got to be a better way to live man. Put the guns down,” Primm explains.
Booker’s death inspired the Champaign County Community Coalition to hold its first violence forum. Friday night, they met to talk about how to heal the community and prevent something like this from happening again.
“I just hope and pray that through all of this, we learn something,” Primm says, “because I don’t want to go to another funeral.”
Booker says, through it all, he can’t have hard feelings about what happened, and he’s grateful for all the support for his family.
“And no matter which way it goes, I have no hatred,” Booker says. “I’m very thankful. I’m very thankful, to everybody.”
Police say they’re looking for a 15-year-old. They say he may have fired the gun by accident. They also say he isn’t cooperating with their investigation, so a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
While Booker’s family is trying to find peace, the family of another dead teen is looking for justice. 16-year old David Sankey was shot and killed in Champaign in August.
19-year old Darrion White is charged with the crime. In court this week, a judge decided there’s enough evidence to move forward with a case against him. Sankey’s mother says she’s glad to hear that.